Apparently, President Donald Trump can expect the opposite of a warm welcome during his upcoming visit to London.
After news broke on Thursday that Trump plans to land in Britain on July 13, calls for mass protests from human rights groups, activists, and anti-Trump politicians started rolling in.
According to Vice News, approximately 40,000 people said on Facebook that they would attend a protest in London against Trump’s visit, while 100,000 others indicated they were interested.
Even London Mayor Sadiq Khan issued a warning to Trump that Britons would voice their “freedom of speech” upon his visit.
"If he comes to London, President Trump will experience an open and diverse city that has always chosen unity over division and hope over fear," Khan tweeted Thursday. "He will also no doubt see that Londoners hold their liberal values of freedom of speech very dear."
If he comes to London, President Trump will experience an open and diverse city that has always chosen unity over division and hope over fear. He will also no doubt see that Londoners hold their liberal values of freedom of speech very dear.— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) April 26, 2018
Kahn has a particularly tense relationship with Trump as he is the first Muslim mayor of any major Western capital city, and it’s no secret that Trump holds anti-Muslim views and spews Islamophobic rhetoric regularly.
Despite the looming threats of protest, the U.S. ambassador to Britain, Woody Johnson, insisted that Trump is “very thick-skinned” and can handle the tough crowds.
Britons have not been shy about their opposition to Trump. Last year, more than 1.8 million people signed a petition claiming that Trump should not be formally invited to a state visit because it would be an embarrassment to the Queen. Additionally, thousands participated in a march in London to protest Trump’s Muslim ban in February 2017.
In January of this year, Trump was scheduled to visit London to open the new U.S. embassy, but he canceled the trip, claiming he felt former President Barack Obama’s administration made a bad real estate deal in choosing the new location.
Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for “peanuts,” only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
But many people believed that excuse was bogus and speculated that Trump was really skipping the grand opening to avoid protests.
The July trip will purportedly be a level below an official state visit, however, Trump is still set to meet with the Queen and British Prime Minister Theresa May while he’s there.
Even his British supporters are urging him to stay away from London though, suggesting that he should head to Scotland instead since that is where his mother was born and where he owns a golf course.
Alas, the Scottish likely wouldn’t want him there any more than Londoners, considering more than 30,000 people in the country said they oppose his proposal to build another golf course there.
“A visit to London by the president is likely to draw major protests, crime and disorder, and we do not wish to see Britain or President Trump embarrassed by this,” said Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the conservative Bow Group think tank.
He added: “It is important that the people of the United States and its government know there are many in Britain who strongly support the president and the special relationship, and wish for President Trump to be afforded the warmest of welcomes. Sadly, that will not be the case in London.”
It is yet to be seen if Trump will truly face major crowds of protesters in July, but it would certainly be gratifying for most of us in America to see our allies come out en masse in solidarity with the people and take a stand against the hate, bigotry, and misogyny that Trump represents.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque